Based on Michael Lewis’ nonfiction bestseller “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game,” the book’s subject is Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, who assembled a contending baseball club on a shoestring budget by employing a sophisticated computer-based analysis to draft players.
I wish we could give “Moneyball” our Dove Seal. If not for language we could. It is an intelligent and funny movie and Brad Pitt, if you will excuse the expression, hits it out of the park in his role as Billy Beane, the former promising baseball prospect who never quite achieved his potential but who made a name for himself by assembling a winning baseball team on a shoestring budget. He accomplished this task with the help of Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) who assisted Billy in developing a computer-based analysis to draft ball players. Pitt is humorous, intense, and sensitive as he plays the fiery Beane in a full-range performance. His collection of “Island of Misfit Toys” players is fodder for vitriolic presses but soon these same writers change their tune. Sports footage is used in the movie including scenes from the A’s 20 wins in a row one memorable season.
I admit to being a big baseball fan and baseball lovers and non-baseball fans can appreciate this film, although sadly its use of the F bomb keeps it out of our family-friendly arena. Without giving the ending away, Beane feels that despite all of his accomplishments he somehow fell short. It’s then that Brand shows him a film of a minor leaguer who hit the ball hard, rounded first and then ran back and slid into the base. He had to be told to get up and keep running because he “hit a homerun without knowing it.” Brand drives the metaphor home to Beane. Perhaps we can draw on that analogy for our own lives when we feel as if we have come up short. Often times it takes someone else to point out that a homerun has been hit without us even realizing it. Sad to say we cannot award our Dove Seal to this film, despite its themes of perseverance and using creative thinking to move forward.